Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010: The Year

Needs no explanation.

Best On Screen Chemistry

Last season's bathtub carnage left me wondering how the hell they could possibly keep this show interesting. How could they match such an incredible season? The answer to that question turns out to be Julia Stiles.

I'm not a huge Julia Stiles fan (although I highly recommend The Business of Strangers,) but hot damn if she didn't add a whole new dimension to Dexter. Stiles and Michael C. Hall share ridiculous chemistry, and it was disturbingly heartwarming to think of Dexter having a life-partner in crime.

Close second:

Mad Men

Who the fuck gives a damn about Don Draper, his ego, his secrets, or his predictable decision to marry the pretty girl? It's all about Joan and Roger. Three cheers for writers and actors who have created two characters well over 30 who are hot as hell, smart, interesting, and make me root for adultery. 

Best New Thing on TV
Boardwalk Empire

It's big, it's beautiful, it's Scorsese, it's Buscemi, it's filmed in Brooklyn. Love. That is all that really needs to be said. Which brings me to....

Newest Ridiculously Sexy Woman on Weekly Television
Gretchen Mol

She was so damned good as Bettie Page, and now she's on tv on a regular basis as Boardwalk Empire's Gillian. She's the perfect mixture of sweet propriety, and gutter-mouth street smarts. Mol's prohibition-era Gillian is like Joan Holloway's spiritual grandmother.  My marriage ended in 2010 - I'm announcing here and now that my next wife will be Gretchen Mol.

Writer of the Year
Patti Smith

If you read just one book in 2010, I hope it was Patti Smith's Just Kids. Simple. Beautiful. Unlike any other love story you've ever read. It is perfect. 

Over-hype of the Year
Mary Ann in Autumn 

Sorry - I know people love Maupin. I love Maupin. I love the entire Tales of the City franchise and especially love Mary Ann Singleton, and sooo looked forward to this book. It's not that it's a bad book, but it's just not a good one. Truth be told, even for a long-time soap fan who's used to suspending disbelief, Mary Ann in Autumn was hard to swallow. It's winning awards and getting accolades because Armistead Maupin is a much-loved man - smart, funny, good-natured, and talented. This book does not show off his talent. Much like San Francisco, itself, you'll expect so much more, and find yourself settling for so much less. I wish I'd skipped it. 

Best movie You Probably Didn't See

See it. James Franco is so much more than a pretty face. He channels Ginsberg. Howl is a thing of beauty.

Biggest Loser
Barack Obama

Because he stands by marriage as the domain of heterosexual couples. Because he did all he could to keep DADT in place. Because he sold everyone who had faith in a national  health plan down the river. Because he gave the uber-rich more tax breaks. Because we are still at war. Because he has failed, miserably, by throwing away a great opportunity, and caused it to slip through his fingers. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Get me Fucking Started...

So DADT has been repealed. Praise be! it makes me want to give Dan Choi a great, big hug and a weekend at Disney. Seriously - everyone knows there are gays in the military. There always have been. A soldier is a soldier. Not something I'd choose to dedicate my life to, but thank God someone does. Who the hell cares how they identify? Gay people serve in armies all over the world, and morale among the troops seems just fine, thank you very much. The long and the short of it is -it's about fucking time.

Here's the thing, though: no one can afford to become complacent about LGBT rights. DADT was repealed. Few of us will be directly impacted by this. The fact is, this country is still a mess when it comes to gay rights, and this is exactly the kind of move government makes to appease the uppity. How long before queers are told to sit down and shut up about other forms of discrimination with, "You got DADT overturned...what the hell else do you want?" Even money says TPTB figure this bit of doing-the-right-thing comes with a proviso: we'll fix that little military thing, but they have to shut up about that same-sex marriage nonsense. 

Here is what you need to know about the decision re DADT:

You have a son who has always wanted to serve in the military. Your son is gay. Now that DADT is a thing of the past, you son can Be All That He Can Be. He can join the army, as himself. Private Gaylord Assboy reporting for duty, Sir! That's it. That's all the overturning of DADT means. 

Your gay son cannot marry the man he loves. If he has a life partner, the US Army does not recognize this. If your son marries a nice, young woman he met while stationed in Germany, this woman could apply for a Greencard and, eventually, U.S. citizenship as the wife of an American. And, if your son were suddenly stationed in Fort Middle-of-Nowhere, the US Army would almost certainly relocate his wife. They would be eligible for military housing. Your daughter-in-law would get an official I.D. card so that she could shop at the PX and the Commissary. If, heaven forbid, your son died in the line of duty, your daughter-in-law would be eligible for widow's benefits. 

But your son is queer. 

Thanks to the recent decision about DADT, your son is now good enough to die for his country as a proud and out gay man. He's not good enough, however, to be granted the same rights as those granted the soldier who stands next to him - the soldier who is heterosexual. There is no Greencard for your son's life partner. No military relocation. No military housing. No PX or Commissary. No survivor's benefits. There is nothing for your son's life partner. Because he's gay. He might as well not even exist.

Your gay son can be a war hero, but he can't be a husband.

This business with DADT is a victory, but it's a small one and, while I'm sure President Obama will be willing to take credit for it in 3....2...1...the fact is, DADT was overturned in spite of him, not because of him. So, before you go back to your comfortable chair and say, "I knew Obama would come through for me in the end," remind yourself that we still have a president who believes marriage is a sacred union between MEN AND WOMEN. The long and short of it is he is against full equality and recognition on a federal level. And, without full equality and recognition under the law, on a federal level, the fight for gay rights will go nowhere. They will toss us a bone, now and then, to keep us quiet, but we will be treading water. 

The American Civil War ended in 1865. Jim Crow laws, enacted locally, meant that, for millions of black Americans, the end of slavery did little to bring equality. Change only really started to happen when discrimination was addressed on a federal level, by the Supreme Court. This didn't start until the 20th century, and black people living in America are still far from having equal opportunities in this country.

Ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell is nice....now tell me what else you have for me?